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Thread: The 1983 abortion referendum campaign, much like the current one in fact?

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    Default The 1983 abortion referendum campaign, much like the current one in fact?

    They say he who controls the present controls the past, because they have access to the historical records and media so they can release and highlight what they wish to, and he who controls the past controls the future, because so much of the future political course is set by those who claim to be correcting historic wrongs etc. So it seems important to get a clear understanding of the 1983 campaign which gave us the 8th amendment and on that score I thought this, from a private facebook forum, was of interest:

    "Therefore, I will briefly give my recollection of 1983 and its aftermath.

    Firstly, it must be remembered that the Eighth Amendment to Irish Constitution is the only amendment which originated in popular demand. There was no official appetite for it, and the FitzGerald government proposed an alternative wording drafted by the then Attorney General, the late Peter Sutherland SC which would have prevented a Supreme Court ruling finding abortion rights in the Irish Constitution but which would have allowed the Oireachtas to legislate for abortion. Fianna Fáil, joined by several Fine Gael TDs (we all remember Alice Glenn, Tom O’Donnell and Oliver J Flanagan, but there were more I don’t recall at present), some Labour TDs (Seán Treacy and Frank Prendergast I recall) and the late Neil Blaney defeated this and voted for the wording which the public accepted.

    This was bitterly resented and within a year to eighteen months, linkage was made between the Pro-Life Amendment and the tragedies around the Kerry Babies case and the death of Anne Lovett in Granard. In 1983, The Irish Times was anti-amendment; The Irish Press and sister papers, though reputedly a Fianna Fáil-supporting newspaper, was anti-amendment; The Irish Independent, ironically supporting Fine Gael, took an editorial line in favour of the amendment, but most of its journalists opposed it (true of the entire Independent group). I can recall Des Rushe and John Feeney in the Evening Herald who was killed in an accident a couple of years later as among the few pro-life journalists at the time. The provincial press was different, and I believe the Limerick Leader took a robustly pro-life line. The statement by the Catholic Bishops was hardly robust and there were priests who opposed the amendment. However, at the time most people in Ireland went to Mass and the topic was certainly preached about. My own rural parish priest, I think, had the idea most of his parishioners would vote pro-life and said nothing. I think that the media bias reflected an establishment bias though. When the former Senator Mary Robinson ran for president in 1990, her opposition to the amendment was off-topic, as the Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford, John Browne discovered to his cost, but when she was elected, a very different message was taken. Mary McAleese, on the other hand, was pro-life in 1983 and anti-divorce in 1986 and she wasn’t forgiven until she asserted her liberal credentials after the 1997 presidential election.

    In terms of the debate, I was probably an open door from the pro-life campaign’s point of view (I was old enough to see what was going on, but too young to vote), I was impressed not by religious arguments (not that I recall hearing any), but human rights argument and I recall William Binchey’s advocacy of the human rights of the conceived child was very convincing and I don’t recall any argument from a theological standpoint trumping this.
    ...
    In 1983, I was a pupil in Synge St CBS in Dublin, where we had a few teachers who campaigned for the referendum. We also had a few that campaigned against it, but that’s another story which underlies the point that there wasn’t a totalitarian Church running Catholic schools. But I will concentrate on one of those in favour, Frank Burke, who was active in extra-curricular activities as well as teaching.

    Mr Burke began teaching us religion just days before the referendum (this was on 7 September, a couple of days after the summer holidays ended), but he told us about an interaction he had with two past pupils he met in the street shortly before. The two lads told him they were going to vote no and he tried, without much sign of success, to persuade them otherwise. At this point a woman in the street interrupted and said she should be part of the discussion as she was the only one there who had had an abortion. She looked at the two young men and said that she could not understand why they would vote no. ...[Then he talked about the great trauma, and sometimes depression, that so many women feel after an abortion, and that these things are more known about and recognised now and hence it makes less sense for abortion to be more popular now.]"
    Its clear that we are being treated to a massive amount of disinformation here. The fact is that the establishment - with the exception of Charlie Haughey who, whatever his faults, was rarely a member of the 'establishment' - in Ireland has always been quite anti-Catholic and slavish in their adherence to what are deemed 'progressive' causes.

    Endless nonsense has been pored out about the great courage of people who dared to vote No that time etc when, as you can see, they had the support of the media, as always, and the Taoiseach, Tanaiste and Attorney General of the day, etc etc. Meanwhile the Bishops only issued a soft statement that for example heavily emphasised that those who wanted to vote No could do so with a clear conscience. Most of the leading No figures of that 1983 pro-choice campaign in turn went on to take their pre-ordained spot in the Irish establishment, as Presidents, Robinson and Higgins for example, and a remarkable number as senior judges, of the High and Supreme Courts, etc.

    I admit there was a time when the Irish - specifically Dublin - media were not as anti-Catholic as they normally are, say 1920-55, but that narrow period is massively outweighted by the endless anti-Catholic vitriol that we have got since long before the 1980s, and which mimics the atmosphere of before that period when we were so influenced by the anti-Catholic atmosphere of the British establishment. Currently I am reading a lot of 19th century Irish newspapers for example which are relentless in their endless trotting out of the 'priest ridden Irish being held back by mere superstition' line, the Inquisition, blah blah blah, etc etc which is so familiar to a modern reader! (Although I admit there were some Catholic newspapers in the 19th century, more than there are now.)

    In any case I know this issue is not a religious one per se, but obviously a lot of the Repeal campaigners, who talk about 'facts' and scientific this that and the other are clearly, if you watch their videos etc, simply motivated by an anti-Catholic prejudice, so I thought it was a point worth making.

    Anyway the next time you are mesmerised by an older pro-choice campaigner regaling you with the usual story that tiger hunting in India and landing on Omaha Beach are nothing in comparison to canvassing for No in 1983 try and add this little perspective to the tale!
    Last edited by scolairebocht; 31st January 2018 at 01:57 PM.

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    Politics.ie Member Sync's Avatar
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    The fact is that the establishment - with the exception of Charlie Haughey who, whatever his faults, was rarely a member of the 'establishment' - in Ireland has always been quite anti-Catholic and slavish in their adherence to what are deemed 'progressive' causes.
    Stopped reading after this. Rarely have I seen someone so ignorant of Irish history.
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    So the OP is quoting an unnamed private facebook account and is a long whinge trying to re-write history and completely ignores organisations like SPUC who were very closely linked to the RCC and their part in the 1983 amendment.

    I remember that time well and the version attempted in the OP is unrecognisable from the truth.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpy Talbot View Post
    So the OP is quoting an unnamed private facebook account and is a long whinge trying to re-write history and completely ignores organisations like SPUC who were very closely linked to the RCC and their part in the 1983 amendment.

    I remember that time well and the version attempted in the OP is unrecognisable from the truth.
    Yes. I wonder who the author of the excruciatingly long quote was?

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    Repealers who were anti-amendment in 1983 have seen disaster after disaster in the Irish legal and medical quagmire because of that referendum.

    It is hardly 'fundamentalist' to have held to a position for over 30 years and watched the agonising effect of that thoroughly misguided maneouver in 1983 which was actually installed in the constitution by fanatics.
    Ecclesia oportet destrui

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    Politics.ie Member Catalpast's Avatar
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    Well I can well recall 1983 and while there were fanatics on both sides

    - its certainly not the case that people were intimidated from voting for what they believed in

    But of course we cant have that now can we!

    No History is now to be re written so that anyone who so much as put their nose over the parapet in favour of the NO campaign

    - was hounded from public life etc etc etc ...

    I will admit the Church was much bigger influence then than it is now

    - and that swayed a lot of people

    But on the other hand the Liberal Globalisation Agenda

    - was a minnow in the Western World compared to now

    - their Power and Influence has grown by leaps and bounds

    - and they are surprise surprise they are all for Abortion on Demand....
    If you can convince a People to engage in the mass elimination of their own offspring - you can probably get them to do anything...http://irelandinhistory.blogspot.ie/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Congalltee View Post
    No offence, but it’s hard to take a denial of fundamentalism seriously if you call pro-amendment people “fanatic” and use a Savita quote as your signature (which is as bad as “pro-lifers” evoking children with DS).
    My signature refers to an expert's statement on the effect of the 8th in Savitta Halappanavar's case. Whether you choose to believe otherwise or to ignore it is completely up to you.

    I campaigned against the amendment in 1983 and am more than aware it was a maneouver calculated to prevent the Oireachtas legislating in this area.
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    Politics.ie Member eoghanacht's Avatar
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    The same poster gave us this gem of a thread.

    http://www.politics.ie/forum/history...eart-mary.html

    Which raises the question , if Mammy Mary has taken our nation to her bossom then surely changes in our society have been guided by the great spirit in the sky, no?
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    this is a really important issue, the details can come later, the most important thing now is to repeal the 8th.........and I feel sense will prevail and we will..........

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    Politics.ie Member O'Quisling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scolairebocht View Post
    . . . . . .
    Firstly, it must be remembered that the Eighth Amendment to Irish Constitution is the only amendment which originated in popular demand. . . . ....
    Correct. But the past is a foreign country; people do things differently there.

    Irish society is unrecognisably different today from 1983.

    The decision was made in the late '70s by organised political Catholicism to make the issue of abortion their Alamo.
    Look how well it worked out for the fella's under siege in Alamo the first time around.
    "There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by sword. The other is by debt." - John Adams, second president of the US

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